Schimminger Statement on Videotaping Ban

June 23, 2003

State Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, the lead Assembly sponsor of legislation outlawing “video voyeurism,” issued the following statement on today’s bill-signing by the Governor:

The road to outlawing “video voyeurism” has been long and winding, but thankfully, today, we’ve reached our destination.

I first introduced legislation outlawing video voyeurism in response to a 1999 case in my district which involved a young mother in the Town of Tonawanda who discovered a video camera hidden in an air vent in a bathroom in her apartment. Although the police were able to trace the wires back to the landlord, no charges were brought because the New York statute on unauthorized surveillance covered only audio recordings. The need to change the law to protect against this misuse of modern video technology to watch people without their consent in what should be their private residences seemed to me to be self-evident from the day police brought the lack of such a statute to my attention. Since then, similar occurrences in other parts of the state have helped convince others of its importance.

The new law will help protect individuals from outrageous violations of the privacy they have every right to expect. It will give law enforcement the weapons it needs to get tough on electronic Peeping Toms, and hopefully, it will act as a strong deterrent to anyone contemplating such crimes in the future.